This guide is for anyone that wants to get the most out of Fire Emblem Heroes, but isn’t willing to spend much (or any) money on the game. Luckily, Fire Emblem Heroes is very generous to its free players, with a significant amount of premium currency and heroes available through its single player campaign. So while you may not be able to compete at the highest levels of the Arena, almost everything else in the game will be accessible given enough time.
- 1 Is Free Play viable?
- 2 Premium Currency
- 3 Building an Effective Team
- 4 Getting New Characters
- 5 What Free Players miss out on
Is Free Play viable?
While some Free-to-Play games are nearly impossible to enjoy without paying money, Fire Emblem Heroes is not one of them. A free player can easily gain more than 150 orbs without paying a dime, which is more than a paying player would get for $75. And because your team is limited to only four characters, you don’t necessarily need a huge roster of super powerful characters to be successful. Moreover, by using color advantages and abusing the easily exploited AI, good strategy can allow a free player to even compete in the PvP Arena (at least until merged heroes become more common).
Like many Free-to-Play games, Fire Emblem Heroes has a premium currency used to purchase items in the game. This currency is called Orbs and is primarily used for Summoning new Heroes for use on the player’s team. Additional uses for orbs include Castle Upgrades to permanently increase XP gains and replacing the other limited use items like Stamina Potions, Dueling Crests, or Light’s Blessings. After completing your (optional) rerolls, I recommend using orbs to fully upgrade your castle, as the increased XP gains will significantly improve the game’s difficulty curve and save a lot of stamina in the long run.
There are many ways to obtain Orbs without spending money in Fire Emblem Heroes. All-in-all, you can expect to get around 150 total orbs, which is enough to fully upgrade your castle (26 total orbs) and summon approximately 30 heroes. For most players this will be enough to complete all of the single player content and earn a decent amount of Hero Feathers in the Arena. Here are all of the ways you can get free orbs.
Daily Login Bonuses
Simply by logging in each day you will receive 2 free orbs. This is currently listed as a limited time offer, available until March 14th. Additionally, for logging in during the weekend you will receive additional items like Dueling Crests and Stamina Potions, which have benefits that are otherwise purchased with Orbs.
Link to Nintendo Account
By linking to a Nintendo Account you can gain 10 free orbs. Additionally, you gain access to special quests that each reward 100 Nintendo reward coins, that can be spent on Stamina Potions, Dueling Crests, Light’s Blessings, and Universal Crystals and Shards. However, if you plan on rerolling your account to get better heroes, it’s important to wait until after your last reroll to link a Nintendo Account.
Prologue, Story Mode, Paralogues, and Special Maps
Every map completed in Story Mode awards 1 Orb. You can earn additional orbs for completing those maps on Hard and Lunatic difficulty as well. This all adds up to a total of 138 orbs available through Story Mode, though some later Lunatic maps may be too difficult for all players to complete. If you want to maximize experience gains while doing these quests, I recommend swapping between characters and difficulties as necessary to not out-level the maps.
In addition to the Story Mode maps, Nintendo occasionally releases Paralogues for a limited time. Just like Story Maps, these reward orbs for each difficulty level completed, so you will want to complete these maps whenever they become available. Finally, during the launch celebration some special maps are available that reward 3 Orbs when completed.
Every month includes a new set of Quests. Completing these quests can give you rewards, including orbs. The quests also have different difficulty levels (Hard and Lunatic) that you can only access by completing all quests at the current level.
Rerolling refers to the act of restarting a game until you get a favorable set of starting Summons. A full Rerolling Guide can be found on this wiki, but the general idea is simply to play through the Prologue, summon a round of heroes with your first orbs, and restart the game if you don’t get any good 5 heroes. The most important rule is to not link your Nintendo account until after all rerolls are done, as the Nintendo Account will save your progress and prevent you from restarting your game. If you have already linked your Nintendo Account or feel that rerolling is cheating, don’t worry too much, since it’s completely possible to be effective even without rerolling. However, it is helpful to start with a powerful character to build your primary team around.
Building an Effective Team
Regardless of if you are a Free-to-Play player or not, you will want to build an effective core team for completing story missions and competing in the Arena. Note that while you can adjust your team composition to suit the maps in Story Mode, any well balanced team should be able to complete all of the single player content up to Chapter 8 on Lunatic difficulty. A well balanced team is also helpful in arena, because you don’t have prior knowledge of what unit types your opponent will bring. This section will give you tips on building a strong team.
Build around your best heroes
The most important tip is simply to focus on building around your best heroes and choose characters that cover their weaknesses. If you already have a top tier Red Lord (like Lucina or Marth), then you probably don’t need any more red units for your team. If you have a strong tank (like Hector), then you may want to focus on finding characters that can support a choke-point strategy.
Use Strong 4 or 5 Star Heroes
It is always helpful to construct your team with individually powerful heroes. Each hero has a given potential (represented by stars, ranging from 1-5) that determines their stat growth and their available skills. As a rule, you will only want to focus on leveling characters with at least a 4 potential, as 3 and lower characters will be outclassed at higher levels because of their poor skill pool.
Additionally, different heroes have stats and skills that make them more or less desirable. While the recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt, the Tier List is helpful for deciding if a given character is worth adding to your team.
Color balance is essential to a good team. As the triangle in the lower right hand corner of the combat map shows, different attack colors have a rock-paper-scissors like cycle of advantages. Red beats Green, Green beats Blue, and Blue beats Red. Neutral units are equally powerful against all opponents. To make the most of this, it’s recommended that all teams include at least 2 different colors to improve opposing matchups. Also, because of how the AI behaves, it is often possible to “bait” the opponents into disadvantaged matchups, so a good color balance is very helpful for abusing the AI.
Magic and Physical Balance
In addition to color balance, it is also good to have a combination of physical and magical attackers. Physical attackers include Sword, Lance, Axe, Bow, and Dagger users, while magical attackers include Tome users, Rod users, and Dragons. The primary difference between these types of units is the defensive statistic they target. Physical attackers are effective against foes with low Def ratings, while magical attackers do more damage against units with low Res stats. Having at least one unit of each type will help to break through walls that have a single very high defensive statistic.
Mobility and Range Balance
The last thing to consider for a good team is mobility and range differences. In order to focus fire on a single enemy unit it is useful to have a mix of infantry units, cavalry units, flying units, melee attackers, and ranged attackers. Melee units can attack most opposing ranged heroes without provoking counterattacks, and vice versa. Flying units or cavalry are often able to flank or attack units that would otherwise be inaccessible. So having a variety of character types can really help build a well balanced team.
Getting New Characters
In order to build your team, you will need heroes. While there are some heroes that you get for free, the vast majority must be summoned with Orbs. This section will show you how to get free heroes and give you tips to make the most of your precious Orbs.
I wish I could say that this game gives you some great heroes for free, but that’s simply not the case. You will begin the game with the three 2 Starting heroes (Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna) and an assortment of other 1-3 heroes. By playing rotating Special Maps you can also unlock new 1-2 heroes. There are also occasional Grand Hero events that can reward heroes, but these can be very difficult if you don’t have a max level team already. Simply put, don’t expect a lot out of the free heroes.
The primary way to get good heroes is through Summoning. To summon a hero, start by picking from one of the available summon focuses. You will then be offered five colored orbs, corresponding to the unit type that will be summoned. It costs 5 orbs to summon a unit (you must summon at least one from the offered orbs), and the remaining heroes can be summoned for 4 orbs, 4 orbs, 4 orbs, and 3 orbs, respectively. Summoning all five heroes costs a total of 20 orbs.
Tips for Summoning
While there’s certainly a lot of randomness in hero summoning, you can tilt the odds in your favor by making good choices. First, pick the best summoning focus available (the one with the most top tier heroes that you can use). Next, only summon orbs for unit type that you need to improve your team. For example, if you already have a top tier Red hero, don’t waste your precious orbs on summoning additional red heroes that will only be a minor improvement at best. Instead, focus on the colors that will most improve your team’s composition, especially if there is a focus unit of that color. While it may be tempting to summon all heroes to get the most of the additional summon discounts, getting a high value hero is worthless if it doesn’t improve your primary team.
Tips for Unlocking Potential/Merging Heroes
While a free-to-play player won’t have many opportunities to upgrade or merge their heroes, it’s worth considering the possible benefits. Unlocking potential allows you to spend crests/badges and Hero Feathers to increase the star rank of a hero (and reverting them to level 1). This is very expensive, especially to upgrade a character from 4 to 5, but it can certainly be worth it if a 1-4 character could round out your primary team. This is another good opportunity to point out that there are only 4 slots on a team, so even if you only get a small number of 5 units from unlocking potential, it can really improve your performance.
Another advanced feature is merging heroes. Merging heroes allows you to combine duplicate heroes in order to strengthen them. Merging heroes of the same star rank will give additional Skill Points and additional stats, similar to a level up. Notably, this is the only way to improve the stats of a level 40 hero, so merging heroes will likely play a big role at the highest level of play. However, a free-to-play player is unlikely to get duplicates of any of the powerful 5 heroes, especially if they follow my above advice for summoning.
What Free Players miss out on
While this guide should help any players looking to play without spending money, it is still good to know what goals are going to be difficult or impossible to achieve without buying orbs. Here is a list of things you won’t be likely to do.
A free-to-play player can easily compete in the Arena to earn feathers. Achieving a top-rank on the leaderboards, however, is very unlikely. Because of the way that matchmaking and scoring behaves, players with optimized teams and multiple merges have a higher potential number of points in a single arena run. As a result, only players willing to spend large amounts of money are likely to earn spots in the top 100.
Non-Focus 5 Heroes
Getting 5 heroes is very possible without spending money. In fact, a free-to-play player has at least an 85% chance of earning one 5 hero and will find two 5 heroes on average (this goes up if you are willing to reroll). The chances of finding a specific non-focus hero with all of your free orbs, though, is less than 3%. So if there is a specific hero that you really want, expect to fork over a lot of cash.
Large Hero Collections
As stated before, you will get about 30 heroes from summons with your free orbs. Since this includes some 3 heroes, you won’t have an expansive collection with all of your favorite Fire Emblem characters. Instead of trying to complete your collection, it’s better to focus on having at least one very competitive team.
Merging 5 Heroes
While the competitive meta is not fully developed, it seems likely that merged heroes will eventually dictate the upper levels of competitive play. Considering the expense and difficulty of obtaining specific 5 heroes, getting duplicates that can be merged together is prohibitively expensive. Moreover, unless you already have a perfect 5 team composition, it’s going to be better to focus on unit colors other than the ones on your team. Simply put, don’t shoot for 5 merges if you want to play for free (or cheap).